「Now then, here we are o guardian. I’ll grant you the chance to choose.」
After Emily and Vanessa made their settlement with a fist of all their might (plus abyss), the lord that was observing Chief Magdanese and her group said such thing with his eyes shining.
In the silent night where the tumult of death and strife had passed, leaving behind the heaps of corpses of armed men all around, the voice of the lord resounded clearly. Emily and Vanessa, and also Grant husband and wife who were in slight distance away, they all went ‘hah’ and their gazes turned toward that voice.
Even the special squad troops whose awareness slackened slightly from the extermination of the enemy and the observing act of the lord, they began to put on a tense air once again.
Chief Magdanese was pressing on her arm that was soaked in blood while standing up with the help of the agent beside her. Her cheek was dirtied by blood splash and painted her gruesomely, but she responded at the lord with a straight calm gaze without even a grimace on her face.
「Yes, choose. Will you be exterminated in this place? Or will you take the second option?」
「What nonsense……I already told you my, no, the security bureau’s will. If you want to kill us then kill. Even if the country lose a pawn like me, it won’t affect this country’s system.」
She had made her resolve. Her cold gaze without any emotion in it discarded the lord’s proposal as nonsense.
But, the lord wasn’t making “proposal” here.
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「Certainly, I don’t think that your death will affect this country’s decision considerably. But, I believe that the influence of the living you is powerful, isn’t that correct? Don’t you think that influence ought to be used for the sake of the country’s safety?」
「? What are you……-, such thing. That’s a contemptible threatening isn’t it.」
Yes, this was the “ultimatum” that was only dressed up as “proposal”.
Even if Chief Magdanese died, it would be impossible for the upper brasses of this country who knew about the appeal of【Berserk】to retract back their hand, there would be some remaining that would keep trying. The successor of Chief Magdanese would succeed her duty or else that duty would simply be moved toward another organization.
But, if this great woman who could even be said as a living legend used her position and all her influence to insist that【Berserk】was unneeded, or even dangerous, what would happen then. Chief Magdanese said that she was nothing more than a dog of the country, but sure enough, could the upper brasses ignore her full report?
From the lord’s conjecture, there would be no way for them to ignore her.
For the lord who was lacking in the means of cleaning up the aftermath with the country as his opponent, the method of bringing over Chief Magdanese to his side and made her to revoke the【Berserk】case could be said to be the most realistic means.
Of course, the lord also had the means to make the top brasses of this country to forget everything regarding【Berserk】. He could make request to that demon king. If he did that, the whole case would be settled without leaving any loose end.
But, the lord didn’t choose that. The dignity of the lord wouldn’t forgive him if he left this case’s resolving to other people wholesale even though he was the one that poked his nose into his case by his own. Above all, he thought of that person as a friend, and so there was no way he could treat him as a convenient existence. If he did something like that, then the lord wouldn’t be able to say that he was the friend of that demon king while raising his head high.
Therefore, for the lord, it would be for the best if Chief Magdanese herself put an end to this【Berserk Incident】.
And then, in the case this option couldn’t be practiced, then it would be war against the new security bureau without Chief Magdanese, no, against the country itself that was backing the bureau.
「This is different from threatening. This is a declaration. If your side wishes for a fight to the bitter end, then I will fight until this body is reduced into worthless thing. Now, guardian. You can imagine using that sagacious mind of yours. In the end, just how much sacrifice will be necessary to stop this abyss lord.」
Chief Magdanese stayed silent. Her gaze surveyed around slightly without even speaking any words. What entered her gaze was the mere shadow of the armed men’s former self. In contrast, the man before her eyes had not a single wrinkle on his outfit.
In front of this person who utilized supernatural technique that surpassed the realm of understanding, even the special squad of the security bureau would be powerless. His conduct and speech were also beyond comprehension.
Although, it was by no means that the winning percentage was zero inside Chief Magdanese’s thought. No matter how much irrational strength this person had, but as long as he was only an individual, he would be in a losing battle against an organization. Inside her head she had already pictured several routes of killing the lord by using “strength of organization”.
She let out a deep sigh. From how the agent standing by beside Chief Magdanese was blinking his eyes, perhaps it was really rare for her to act like that.
But, if that agent knew about what was inside Chief Magdanese’s heart, then surely he would feel that it couldn’t be helped for her to make that deep sigh from the overwhelming fatigue drowning her heart, he would even feel sympathy to that.
(The right-hand man of demon king……what’s more, the “returnees”, is it.)
Yes, the lord had proclaimed before. That he was the “right-hand man of demon king”. In other words, this embodiment of irrationality before her eyes was nothing more than a subordinate. In the end, was that existence which was referred as demon king, an existence that was even more powerful than this lord? That was something that Chief Magdanese didn’t understand.
But, here, for some reason her mind was naturally under the impression that this information was nothing significant――from that, and when the keyword “returnees” emerged on her mind, terrifying possibilities were welling out from inside her, one after another.
The returnee incident that shaken the society for a period. Naturally the intelligence department of Britain also didn’t ignore that incident. But rather than the boys and girls who were called as returnee, the intelligence department focused more in observing and dealing with the disturbing elements who were sniffing at the occult aspect of these returnees. Even so, there was no doubt that Britain was paying attention to the【Returnees Incident】.
But, at one point of time, the heated up media and suspicious organizations that were showing disturbing movement suddenly stopped showing any movement. It happened so quickly like the tide that was drawing back.
(Yes, that incident came to an end so naturally that it was unnatural. And then, I and also the intelligence department didn’t feel that it was unnatural!)
The existence of the lord and the few keywords that he put before her eyes opened up Chief Magdanese’s eyes.
――This person wielding supernatural power, is a returnee
――The returnees, numbered thirty people in total.
――At the very least, there is an existence that this person looked up as above him.
――The recognition toward the returnees is weak, and much less in their own country, but almost the whole world was like that.
――Even now she isn’t feeling that it was unnatural about how weak this recognition is
‘Just what’s with this situation’, Chief Magdanese thought. ‘The opponent is an individual’, such assumption was an excessively hopeful conjecture.
「Let me, ask a question. Among all of you, how high are you in comparison?」
When that question left her mouth, she thought that there was really no meaning in asking that, even so Chief Magdanese couldn’t help but asking the question. She wanted to know even if just a part, about “they” who managed to hide from the whole world even after having the attention from all over the world gathered on them once.
Hearing the question of Chief Magdanese, the lord hummed「fumu」while touching his chin. He showed a gesture of thinking for a bit, and then he shrugged his shoulders in over reaction and answered.
「I can boast that I’m top class even among my friends. However……」
The lord was putting on airs, however, Chief Magdanese only asked back quietly without showing any irritation. Toward such her, the lord held his head high, and then he spoke in pride.
「Compared to our demon king and his ladies, I cannot hold a candle to them. Even in one-on-one, using my whole body and soul, where I take out all of the trump cards that I have……dealing a scratch is the best that I can do.」
The special squad troops were going slightly astir. An opponent that cornered them until half-destroyed state, and in his back there was still someone else waiting, someone that this person could do nothing except putting on a scratch. What’s more, there were several of such people. What’s more, he said ladies. Ladies-! The fingertip of the troops that was on the trigger was trembling! How envio――terrifying!
「Although, perhaps it won’t even become a fight against you guys to begin with.」
The detail that was added like an additional blow convinced Chief Magdanese. It was just as she thought, even their awareness was being guided. That conviction made a sigh to leak out from Chief Magdanese’s mouth once more.
And then, she asked the scale on her heart and a bitter smile emerged on her mouth.
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「Indeed, it’s not worth it to continue this just for the merit of turning【Berserk】into weapon. By the way, I wonder if there is any room for negotiation?」
「Is it fine for you to say that even without asking that demon king-sama you respected?」
A curt response. Chief Magdanese sighed for the third time.
「The effect and usefulness of【Berserk】are already known by the top brass. I cannot assert that this case will be resolved by me advocating for the opposing argument. It’s my specialty to make argument armed with theoretical backing, however I cannot guarantee anything with certainty if I have to omit your existence in my argument.」
「Are you implicitly telling me to expose the information about me and the one behind me? Know this, guardian. In this world, there are things that shouldn’t be known. ……Or rather, if I told you about them then it will be seriously bad news for me and for you too. Especially if anyone try anything to the wive~s it seriously will be the end. It will be totally over for this country. If this is known, then there will absolutely be some fellow coming out to do stupid thing, this country will disappear from the map yea――cough-. Anyway, I have no intention of telling you anything about us.」
For some reason, it was as though the bare face came out from Lord Abyssgate. It was a momentary shiver that was obvious even through the sunglasses and black costume. Other than Chief Magdanese, even the troops were horrified. Just what kind of existence could make this aberrant existence to unconsciously return to his bare face!?
「Hhn, a, and, what is your answer?」
The lord cough unnaturally as though to pull himself together, and then he pressed the choices once more on them. The mind of Chief Magdanese was groping frantically for the best solution to her country even now in this moment, but she was aware that the answer had already come out from inside herself since some time ago.
The country’s safety was everything for Sharon Magdanese.
Then, if what was waiting at the end of the path of pursuing that goal would be a war against an unknown, and furthermore a powerful organization without equal that could even possibly overthrow this country, then that would be really just putting the cart before the horse. At the very least, she knew that in the current time she was overwhelmed in the information aspect and battle strength.
A long silence descended. The cold gaze of Chief Magdanese pierced straight at the lord.
The lord was also staring straight back at Chief Magdanese. While crossing his arms.
Just how much time passed? When anyone realized, Emily and Vanessa were already standing close to the lord, the troops were nervously gazing alternately between Chief Magdanese and the lord. It was at that time that the words that would decide their fate were finally spoken.
「…………Fine then.【Berserk】is uncontrollable. Refinement of wonder drug for it is impossible. At this rate there is a high possibility of it adapting to the environment and start air-borne infection, the damage in that case will be vast. ……What do you think about that? Of course, I will put seasoning on that story sufficiently.」
「Wonderful. With this there will also be no need for a joke like all the upper brasses of Emily’s country showing the same symptoms with Alzheimer, despite that being the illness that she is fighting against. My greatest respect on your decisive judgment.」
「I don’t need your respect or anything, however I think that it’s a silver lining that you are someone rational. ……Though honestly, I think there is something wrong with your speech and act.」
The words that were muttered in a whisper by Chief Magdanese in the end there. Surely those words came half from being sore loser, and half came from her heart.
The lord pretended not to hear that while his gaze moved to Emily beside him. By sending flying one of the causes that cornered her important people to death, her feeling had been diverted somewhat, but as expected, the flame of her hatred was still directed at Chief Magdanese who was the ringleader without even the slightest weakening.
「Emily. Just as you heard, we have procured a method to end this case. But, I know that this method is not something that you really can agree with.」
Emily clutched the sleeve of the lord tightly. Her tightly pressed lips looked like she would bite on her lips anytime. That look of hers eloquently exposed the inside of her heart that was yelling「This kind of people, it’s better if they all just die!」.
The lord questioned to such Emily.
「I was the one who said that I will become your strength. That’s why, if Emily wish for revenge, I’ll draw my blade against them. Emily, what do you want to do?」
Those words of the lord that came this late in the game caused the troops who were breathing sigh of relieve to make tense expression just when they thought the talk was concluded already. It was only Chief Magdanese who was sending a calm gaze at Emily, like a criminal waiting for the judgment.
The strength of Emily’s hand that was clutching the lord’s sleeve became stronger. Her figure that was looking down while trembling a bit as though she was holding down a great emotion looked even more painful to look at. But, the first word that were let out from such Emily was strong, it resounded with dignity that made everyone there to be taken aback.
「Don’t look down on me.」
The gaze of Emily who lifted up her face stared straight from the shoulder of the lord. In that distance where they could feel each other’s breathing, there was light other than hatred shining in those eyes of Emily.
「You are asking me that kind of question after finishing the talk, are you testing me? I’ll say it one more time. Don’t look down on me, Kousuke. I decided to walk this path because I want to become the strength of someone who is suffering from sickness, because I want to keep alive even if just one person more. There is no way I will trample on the best path you have grasped for me!」
Her voice resounded clearly. That will spread like a ripple. Surely, that will was something that wouldn’t lose even against the will to safeguard the country that Chief Magdanese displayed.
「Besides, I don’t happen to have a shamelessness that allow me to entrust other with killing people for my own sake. Vanessa that has been helping me all this time, and Kousuke who told me that you will become my strength even though you are not related to this. I absolutely won’t make that kind of horrible request to the two of you!」
Her cat eyes glared intensely. She was holding blazing hatred in her chest, however, she didn’t mistake her path. This girl would immediately turn small in crisis, she was a scaredy cat, and obstinate, however it was obvious that inside this awfully straightforward girl, there was strength that couldn’t be mistaken.
A faint smile emerged on the lips of the lord. Different from the fearless smile that he showed before this, it was a smile that was vaguely fleeting, and gentle. The lord’s hand reached toward Emily’s head in a natural motion. *pon pon* Light touches were conveyed to Emily.
「Emily. As I thought, you are a good woman.」
Instant petrification. Next, she turned into a completely ripe tomato when she comprehended what was said to her. The garnish was a weird shocked voice. And then, she noticed how their face had approached each other until super close range where her lips would be able to touch if she stretched up herself a little, and how she was tightly clutching the lord’s arm. She went ‘awawa, hawawa’ while backing off in shaky footsteps.
And then, she noticed Vanessa who was giving her a thumb up for some reason, Chief Magdanese and the troops who were making complicated expression, and then, her family that was sending her a strangely lukewarm gaze……「Do, don’t looook!」she said while turning small. She crouched, she held her head with both her hands, and then her body was trembling from shame. That figure was truly that of a small animal.
The lord made a pleasant smile at such Emily before his gaze returned to Chief Magdanese.
「That’s how it is. Guardian-dono, please, for the sake of this country’s safety too, persuade this country with desperation. There is no worth in effort. Result is everything. If anything is going to harm this child and the people at her surrounding, no matter what kind of shape that is――then know this, the abyss swallow everything without exception.」
Chief Magdanese nodded quietly at the abnormal killing intent and pressure that were filling the last sentence. And then, she proposed that she would like to dispatch personnel to clean up this place, and prepare a place to talk to each other regarding the organization behind Kimberly.
Indeed, they couldn’t just neglect the heaps of corpse, and it was essential to know about the organization behind Kimberly to save Emily completely. And so, the lord accepted that proposal while teaching them one fact.
That fact, was that the number of body bag they needed to prepare was only for Kimberly’s comrades. Yes, actually the troops of the special squad, although they all were seriously wounded with their limbs’ tendon severed, or their internal organ terribly damaged, but not a single one among them received lethal damage, none of them had died.
Thinking from the beginning that bringing over the security bureau to his side was one of the methods to end this case, the lord left them alive so as not to leave behind seed of future trouble as much as possible. Although, even though the troops felt joy that their comrades survived, at the same time their mind felt down from the terror that they were partially annihilated even when the opponent was holding back that much……but that was just a trivial matter for the lord.
Now then, for the moment a relationship of cooperation was build with the security bureau and the matter had reached a point where they could pause. It was at this time
The lord, no, Kousuke heard. The sound of *saa―*. It came from inside his body. It seemed that he could hear for real, the sound of blood leaving his face.
Kousuke’s hand was moving toward his sunglasses with small shivers. And then he slowly took off his sunglasses with the item clattering *rattle rattle*.
What appeared from behind the sunglasses was a grandly convulsing expression.
Other than the agent who received Chief Magdanese’s instruction and made contact for personnel dispatch, everyone there noticed Kousuke’s pale expression that was obvious to see even under the faint moonlight. His eccentric atmosphere until just now was vanishing.
Kousuke turned on his heel wordlessly, however, everyone could clearly see his dead eyes. He started to walk unsteadily, and totteringly. Before long he reached the gap between the wall and stair on the building, he flattened himself into the gap and turned small. Just like Emily-chan.
In front of the people whose eyes turned round in wonder, Kousuke buried his face onto his knees and whispered in small but clear voice.
「Someone, please kill me instantly instead……」
He wished to be beheaded in the middle of the warehouse district.
It seemed that the compensation to become peerless was great.
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